Saturday, April 27, 2019

Out with the old, in with the new

Did the break-in oil change on Gregg, my Honda CB650F.

Conveniently San Jose has curb side oil and filter recycling. They provide jugs for the oil and a baggie for the filter, and pick it up on trash day, dropping off a replacement set of jugs and baggies. Gregg only takes about 3L of oil so one jug was more than enough. If I wanted to do my own oil change on the PedoVan though, I'd be having to get a few more jugs as it takes more like 3.5 gallons.

Anyway, this should keep me rolling for the next year on Gregg at least. Next bike that needs attention is Orthrus, which has a slow oil leak around the clutch actuator rod, and I still need to attend to the float needles not seating quite perfectly. I'm gonna let the dealer handle replacing the seal this summer when I take it in for its yearly, and I'll be fixing the float needles myself whenever I find the time to get around to it.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Ways of the Wood Elf

Decided to play around with some of the hantavirus-soaked scrap wood that used to be the garage shelves, and use some to practice a bit of joinery.

Turned out not half bad I think. The only major gaffe was not realizing that the dovetail gauge has two different angles per side, so the tail is a little bit on the uneven side. This has been duly noted for next time. I also could have been a bit tighter on the trimming, and trying to clear out the middle by cross-cutting with the chisel really didn't work out as well as I hoped (and I had low expectations to begin with).

Sunday, April 21, 2019

I had a wheelie good time

Took a brief spin up Mt Umunhum on Saturday morning, with the goal of reaching the top by leg power for the first time.

(The big box is where they mounted the radar transmitter that turned all the frogs gay)

Thanks to Purple Haze I did indeed manage the task. It was a 3 hour ride in total, with a few rest stops included alongside the 2.5 hours spent actually pedalling. Rode alongside some rather friendly folk, one of whom was on her first ride up the hill as well.

The weather was just about perfect. It was just barely getting warm on the south side of the hill, and on the west side there was actually a pretty brisk sea breeze keeping things almost a bit too cool near the top, but everything worked out in the end just fine.

I'd like to try hiking to the top one of these days, though it'll be quite a slog. I've also got plans to pedal Blackbirb up there to try out the trail near the top via bike. So many things to do...

You spin me right round baby right round

Testing out some photosphere javascript I found. Wonder if this'll work...

That means you don't have to paint it, right?

The door kit clearly says "pre painted".

I mean, I guess nobody's gonna come arrest you if you don't paint it, but you really still should.

Anyway, just a bit more fixing up around the house, painting trim this time. It's not perfect yet, some parts will need another coat, but it's at least a huge improvement.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

I like to ride my bicycle

Took Blackbirb out for a little spin through the woods yesterday. Despite only being a 22 mile ride it was quite intense with a lot of climbing up some pretty steep hills.

I used the ride as a test-run of my new Theta V 360 cam and for the most part things went well. When I got home and tried to add the photospheres to Google Maps though, I discovered a minor problem: the camera didn't record any geotag data in the photo, because it apparently lacks a built-in GPS receiver.

"No problem," I says to myself, brimming with unsupported confidence, "I'll just use the GPX file my Garmin recorded to tag the photos and upload them from my desktop!"

Problem #1: My Garmin GPS records 'fit' files, not 'gpx' files. Thankfully there's a lot of converters around so this was relatively easy to fix.

Problem #2: You can't upload photospheres from the web UI of maps... like, what?

After a lot of hair pulling (and I don't have much hair to pull) I finally managed to take a roundabout route through Google Photos to get the GPS-updated photos back within reach of my mobile device so I could add them.

The quality isn't exactly mind blowing for the still photospheres but my goal long term isn't to do single exposures, which I could do with better quality by doing a manual pano with my phone camera, but to capture whole street view runs of trails that are lacking coverage. Doing that manually with the phone camera would be a slow, laborious nightmare, whereas with the 360 cam you can just let it record as you walk/bike along.

One project down, a billion more to go

Finally got to taking care of the finishing touches on the backyard drainage project on Friday evening.

I've got one bag of gravel left over but I'll probably make use of it either for extending another trench towards the fence if I need it, or I'll use it as a base for some small sidewalk repairs that need doing. Either way it's good to have it done.

The replaced mulch looks a bit obvious in this photo but it's drying back out to the same color already and in a few more days should be basically blended in. There's some rain in the forecast for Monday that should help things along.

Of course that's probably the last rain we'll get for the year so clearly I got this project done just in time!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Big Picture

While I enjoyed using my pocket projector for playing Skyrim on my wall, it was a little lacking in both resolution and brightness, so I figured it was time to throw down and get things upgraded.

Enter the Optoma UHD60, a very lovely 3000 lumen 4k projector.

The picture is still a little bit washed out due to the wall of south facing windows in this room, so I'll likely be ordering up some blinds soon to tame the nuclear hellfire raining in from the uncontrolled fusion reactor we circle every year, but other than that things worked out really well.

I did have some trouble trying to find a joist in the ceiling to attach the projector mount, as my stud finder was having a slight aneurysm. Going old school and tapping the drywall followed by drilling very fine holes until I ran into wood did the trick though, so I've got it mounted nice and solid.

The dangling cables are a temporary arrangement, and I'll soon be getting some longer white cables as well as some surface conduit stuff to hide them against the ceiling and wall. I'm also planning to replace the ugly black track lighting with a more subtle white system at some point.

Polishing my knobs

While I was out at Home Despot fetching some more gravel, I took a stop by the door section to pick up some hinges to replace the ugly ones on my furnace room door.

Ah, delightful.

I also finally got over my indecision and waffling and bought a new set of exterior door knobs and a fancy new deadbolt.

I got a keypad deadbolt for the front door so that I never have to have key-anxiety anymore when I'm heading out of the house. I'll still take a key of course, but it can stay safely tucked in my pocket while I use the keypad to open and close the door. Neat.

You might notice that the handle below the deadbolt is actually a bathroom knob rather than a keyed exterior knob, and there's a good reason for that. You see, the interior doors had been all upgraded to matching new levers, except that for some reason the lever leading into the master bath was a mismatched style. So I grabbed one of the correct style while I was shopping and, since I don't really need a locking handle on the front door with this fancy-pants deadbolt, I installed the one I'd taken from the master bathroom there. Conveniently, and not coincidentally, it happened to be the same style I bought for all the other doors.

I went with this style rather than the style matching the existing handles because A: it matched the leftover from the master bathroom, B: it was available with a tool-free rekeyable tumbler, and C: it's my house and I do what I want. They rekeyable tumbler is the same variety that the deadbolt has too, so I now have one key that opens every exterior door in the house.

Which is to say I actually have 6 keys that open every exterior door in the house, as, without having planned it and/or noticed, I grabbed 3 locksets off the shelf with matching key codes, each of which came with 2 keys. The deadbolt had a different key code, but I was able to use the rekeying feature to make it match the handles.

This is a huge improvement over having only one key that opens the front door deadbolt, and no keys that open any other locks in the house including the front door handle.

Three of the five doors (front door, and both garage doors) were a mess of beaver chewed wood and stripped out screw holes, so I ended up spending a few hours struggling to make things fit properly. Thankfully I had some left over 5/8" dowel so I could drill out the screw holes and glue in dowel sections to rescue the situation. All the exterior doors are slated for replacement at some point though, so it need only be a temporary fix.

I might want to push up the schedule for that replacement, considering the neon yellow furry mold that was growing inside the exterior garage door. Something tells me that door is not long for this world.

A lovely day in the garden

Did a little bit of gardening work this weekend. Topped off a bit of my drainage trough with gravel to level it with the surrounding dirt (it had settled a bit, and I may have underfilled it a little initially) and covered the level section with mulch, as well as the trench I dug over to the existing drainage line from the sump.

I ran out of gravel though, so I didn't finish it this weekend. I did get more gravel though, so I'll be prepared next time I get the urge.

I also staked the weird looking plant in the front yard that had lost its footing.

It's not the prettiest stake, but it does the job just fine.

Ugly reflectors begone!

For whatever reason, a lot of motorcycle makers put exceptionally little effort into making federally mandated features look even remotely decent. Luckily the reflectors they bolt on are as cheap as they are ugly, so I have no reservations about pulling them off and tossing them in the trash.

Didn't bother with a "before" pic, but the "after" version looks nice and tidy. There was a whole extra bracket on the rear that both propped the licence plate out an inch and held some circular red reflectors. No idea why.

That said, I still want to be seen, so I'll be ordering up some retroreflective tape to restore my low light conspicuity. (Or, more likely, I'll just swipe some more of Tyler's stash)

Feeling Nutty

Made some thumb screw nut things for the furnace filter / air return door, since the originals were missing. Designed them pretty quickly and 3d printed them out.

The nut obviously threads onto the stud sticking out of the frame, and the magnet lets me stick the knob to the door while I'm wresting with getting the filter in and out. Both are pressed into place in the plastic, and ain't going nowhere any time soon.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Just brushing up on things

I had a bit of time to kill on Friday evening so I decided to finally pull one segment of L-track out of the PedoVan and clean all the locksmith detritus out of it. There was an insane amount of it stuck in there, let me tell you. I also took the opportunity to give it a light dusting with the wire wheel to clean off a bit of corrosion and staining. I think it turned out pretty good.

There's still a bit of grime in the bottom (it's aluminum, so the red stuff down in there isn't rust. At least, it's not rust from the L-track) but it's a pain to get in there so I'm just going to leave it for now.